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Community Broadcaster: Northern Discomfort

Radio World - Fri, 07/05/2019 - 17:22

The author is membership program director of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. NFCB commentaries are featured regularly at www.radioworld.com.

Alaska became the latest battleground for funding noncommercial media this past week after Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed an appropriations bill approved by state lawmakers. It is among many moves that are set to make the governor an unpopular figure, and this one affects state media immensely.

On July 1, Dunleavy vetoed nearly 200 line items in the budget, scratching $400 million in costs in a bid to stem the deficit. The biggest of these was $130 million for state universities. He has pledged to cut more from Medicaid, education and the state’s ferry system next year.

[Read: Community Broadcaster: Be Like Ghostface Killah]

“For years, for decades, Alaska’s government side of the economy has been pretty big. It’s going to be smaller. But that doesn’t mean Alaska’s best days are behind us. Quite the contrary, I think Alaska’s best days are ahead of us,” Dunleavy is quoted by Alaska Public Media.

Legislators pledged to meet July 8 in an attempt to override the veto, but it is expected to be unsuccessful, given 45 of the state’s 60 representatives and senators would have to agree with an override.

Current laid out the grim outlook for the state’s noncommercial broadcasters, who saw their full allotment of $2.7 million — $2 million of which went to radio — wiped out by the governor. In the short term, staff cuts, programming reductions and more are likely. In later years, the impact will surely be felt across organizations in significant ways.

Why does this matter?

Alaska has so many open areas of wilderness and rural communities where radio remains an important infrastructure pipeline. Ensuring there is state investment in this key piece of education and emergency preparedness capacity is essential for Alaskans. The Alaska Broadcasters Association has raised concerns how Dunleavy’s veto, consistent with a spring budget in which he argued for identical cuts, could heavily affect rural stations.

On KCAW’s website, General Manager Becky Meiers says that station alone will lose some 18% of funding, resulting in potential layoffs and cuts. What that practically means for Alaskans and every American who needs to be informed about the affairs in one of our nation’s most critical regions is that the services they enjoy will be diminished.

Statistically, the portion for broadcasters is miniscule, but what stations like KCAW and its compatriots at CoastAlaska turn that support into is remarkable. From preservation of the state’s indigenous culture to award-winning journalism to local arts, Alaska noncommercial broadcasters provide some of the most unique, innovative services available in the United States. While I trust that the many outstanding public media professionals in the state can generate the needed funds to keep their dynamic services going, this current crisis does not need to be this way.

Dunleavy is one of many politicians who suggest a patchwork of foundation money and business partnerships will keep the ship afloat. “With access to grants, federal funding, or other innovative sources of funding, we believe [media] will continue to provide services to Alaskans and will prioritize its services so it reaches the Alaskan communities that most need news and information,” according to an unsigned press briefing noted by Current. However, this insistence is frankly divorced from reality.

As any nonprofit leader can tell you, what foundations and funders are asking about almost universally is impact. For Alaska, with its small potential reach generally, making that case is not easy. To give you some perspective, the city of Indianapolis is literally 100,000 people bigger than the entire state of Alaska. It’s safe to say that some Alaskan communities have more otters than people. What the governor bases the notion that grants will save Alaska public radio and television is a mystery.

Dunleavy’s backers say emergency preparedness is better served through mobile phones than broadcast. Yet there’s a reason why the Federal Communications Commission is doing its upcoming test of the Emergency Alert System removed from digital channels. If, during an emergency, cell and internet service is lost, broadcast noncommercial radio remains crucial. In towns where cellular and internet service can be inconsistent, radio’s ability to provide such an alert may be the difference between life and death.

One can hope the citizens of Alaska and lawmakers make it clear to the governor how essential public and community broadcasting is to the state. These stations ask for so little, but give so much to their communities.

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The post Community Broadcaster: Northern Discomfort appeared first on Radio World.

Inside the July issue of Radio World International

Radio World - Fri, 07/05/2019 - 09:51

Located on China’s Pacific coast, Shanghai is the country’s biggest city with a population exceeding 26 million people; three times that of New York City (8.55 million). It is also a city that loves its music, and no radio station captures that idea more than Love Radio 103.7 FM. The station, on air since 2005 and targeting 30- to 55-year olds, claims first position in the city as music format radio station among the mobile population, and second in the overall ranking. Discover the station’s strategy and more in the July issue of Radio World International.


How to Cover Live Events Successfully
Here are some ways to ensure effective linking of all sites in an expanded network.


What’s Your Simulcasting Strategy?

Broadcasting simultaneously in digital and analog can either enhance or stifle your station.


The post Inside the July issue of Radio World International appeared first on Radio World.

Big Sound, Small Package

Radio World - Fri, 07/05/2019 - 09:20

LOS ANGELES — An eight-foot table isn’t the most elegant studio, but Mike Dooley knows how to get a lot out of a little — in terms of his workspace and his audio equipment. 

Dooley is the lead engineer for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers’ home radio broadcasts, covering more than 40 regular and preseason games, and possibly post-season. For each game, he shares that table in the Staples Center with five audio positions for hosts and guests. To make his broadcast set-up easier, faster and more compact, Dooley uses the Yamaha TF1 digital mixing console.

“A challenging element of sports broadcasts, especially basketball where you’re always on-site in the arena, is space is extremely limited,” Dooley said. “The less space I take up, without sacrificing any audio quality, means there’s more space for the other guys to prepare notes and conduct interviews.”


The compact and portable TF1 gives Dooley that balance of performance and footprint. The Lakers’ home radio broadcasts, including pre- and post-game shows, originate onsite in the arena and air on KSPN(AM) 710 ESPN in Los Angeles and on the Lakers’ broadcast network of 11 radio stations from New Mexico to Hawaii.

“Throughout each game broadcast, I’m responsible for play-by-play, color commentator, producer, stats and guests, so I need to be ready for anything. Plus, I have to manage wireless and have compression limiter control, along with the mixing.” 

Dooley started using the Yamaha TF1 console in January and has since cut his preproduction time in half while streamlining his audio workflow. The TFI console’s multiple aux outputs give him enough flexibility for each broadcast. 

“I have five announcer positions that like personalized mixes and the analog board I was using had run out of room,” Dooley said. “With the TF1, I can customize mixes, giving each person their own mix and levels. Being able to EQ everything separately with total control over compression on every channel and outputs and inputs has been wonderful.”

He continued, “I’ve been a Yamaha user for more than a decade on other projects, and I recently converted my audio infrastructure to newer Yamaha products, including CL3 and CL5 series mixers. The Dante connectivity between each makes set-up and operation simple. Now everything is in the Yamaha world, familiar, easy to use and with the expandability needed.”

[RevoLabs Gets Name Change]

He added that the console’s Dante interface lets him connect to the announcer boxes using a single CAT-5 cable to each, another factor contributing to reduced set-up time. “The sound is superb without having to use the standard microphone cable involved with an analog board.”

Dooley also takes advantage of the Dugan Automixer for his announcer’s microphone channels. 

“Our broadcast position is right in the middle of the crowd, about 15 rows up from the floor. The Dugan software that shipped with Firmware Update 3.5 for the TF1 console is extremely helpful in keeping the crowd noise bleeding in the microphones down to a minimum, allowing me to add what I need via crowd mics instead of fighting with it during the play-by-play. It also helps make our post-game interviews with players on the court sound fantastic.”

The mixer’s all-in-one design makes transporting his equipment easier.

“I previously had an outboard compression limiter that was heavy and took up a lot of space,” he said. “The TF1 console’s onboard compression was appealing, packing all the functions I need into one unit and letting me do more than I could before, easily and with higher quality results.”

For information, contact John Schauer at Yamaha Corp. of America in California at 1-714-522-9011 or visit https://usa.yamaha.com.

The post Big Sound, Small Package appeared first on Radio World.

College Radio Watch: 200th Podcast, Our ‘Zine + College Radio News

Radio Survivor - Fri, 07/05/2019 - 08:25

It’s been a decade that I’ve been covering college radio on Radio Survivor, which was one of the topics that we discussed on our 200th episode of the podcast/radio show this week. It was a treat to have another rare episode with all four Radio Survivor principals: Matthew Lasar, Paul Riismandel, Eric Klein and myself. We all dug into our deep histories with this project of covering radio from a participant and fan’s perspective and I specifically reflected back on how I got started writing about college radio culture back in 2008 on my Spinning Indie blog.

Radio Survivor launched in 2009 and our podcast began four years ago in 2015. My original intent with Spinning Indie was to shine a light on every pocket of college radio culture so that participants could get some perspective about what’s happening at stations across the United States. I also worked to remind the general public about the important role that college radio plays in media and hoped that people who weren’t listening to college radio would be prompted to tune in to a station in their community or even one that’s far afield.

Eleven years after doing my first college radio-themed blog post for Spinning Indie, it’s gratifying to still be carrying on my original mission, largely at Radio Survivor. Not only do I attempt to do college radio news wrap-ups weekly (as I’ve been doing since 2013!), but I also regularly do field trip reports from my tours of over 100 college radio stations and share various college radio stories on the podcast. It’s also super exciting that the radio version of the Radio Survivor show now airs on five college radio station affiliates in the United States, Canada and Ireland. Long live college radio!

Donate and Get our Inaugural ‘Zine

We’re trying something new at Radio Survivor and will be launching a ‘zine this summer for our Patreon supporters. If you can pitch in as little as $5/month, you’ll get a copy of our hand-crafted publication, full of quirky and fun radio stories and illustrations by the Radio Survivor team and extended family. As always, thanks to everyone for reading, listening and supporting our efforts.

More College Radio News New Stations and Station Revivals Profiles of Stations and Staff Programming
  • WSOU to Cover NYC Fireworks Show Live (WSOU)
Alumni Awards and Accolades

The post College Radio Watch: 200th Podcast, Our ‘Zine + College Radio News appeared first on Radio Survivor.

Ignore the Sound of Streaming at Your Own Peril

Radio World - Thu, 07/04/2019 - 11:06
Getty Images/RichVintage

How many times does your radio station run a liner that says, “Find us on the app,” or “Listen on your computer at work”? Now, how often have you put yourself in the position of an online listener? 

It is true that, even in this connected age, most radio listeners are pulling their signals off the tower and into a radio. But a look at the ratings books tells us that a growing number of listeners are online. In New York, WFAN’s stream has maintained a 0.3 share 6+ over the last four months. KFI in Los Angeles saw its online stream rise to a 0.8 in May, topping 14 over-the-air signals. Add KFI’s OTA and streaming numbers together, and that AM news-talker is number four in the number two market. Chicago has one stream in the book, San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose has two, and Dallas-Fort Worth has five.

[EAS Is Still Relevant as WEA Works Out Kinks]

This is a sign of the future. I often ask my college students to track a week of media consumption. When I started, the replies were the multiplatform mix you would expect. No more. This spring’s class was almost universally consuming media through their smartphones, and that was at one of the nation’s leading schools of journalism and mass communication. 

Listeners expect what they hear on the stream to match what they hear on the radio. But for a variety of technical and sales reasons, there can be a major difference between the two. Some of those differences result in programming that would sound unacceptable, but it may seem no one in authority is listening. 

Several years ago, I was introduced to the internet radio: a unit that looks like a tabletop radio but has a Reciva or similar chip that acts like a web browser for audio streams. I also have three radio apps on my smartphone. I spend many hours listening to streams from anywhere English is spoken. Too often, what I hear makes me cringe. 

As an insider, I am patient and willing to put up with the occasional problem. But to a regular listener, some of what I hear would send me elsewhere. I would challenge a general manager, sales manager or program director to spend a week listening only to the streaming side of their stations. What they hear may be surprising (and not in a good way).


Any real estate agent will tell you about the importance of curb appeal, the first-glance look at a property that can make or break a sale. Your online stream may open with pre-roll message. Its length matters, especially since it is something listeners do not get when turning on their radio.

There are two ways stations can stream: just putting the entire program online as it appears off the tower. Or with a separate set of commercials for online listeners. 

That second category can be further broken down to listeners who get spots for local advertisers while listening to an out-of-market station. (It can be a bit disorienting to hear an ad for a Phoenix furniture store on the stream of a Cleveland radio station.) 

That first option is the easiest to do and the one with the least obstacles. However, it is obvious that some stations send the programming to the stream early in the audio chain. If the stream is not split after the processing, the station may sound different. 


There are several challenges when the online and on-air commercials are separate:

  • Timing: Sometimes a :30 is not a :30 and a :60 is not a :60. The online stopset plays out, then returns to the on-air program with the last few seconds of another commercial playing. 
  • Fill: When the CBS stations (prior to the Entercom acquisition) did not have an online commercial to run, listeners were treated to 30- to 120-seconds of a music bed and an announcer saying programming would return shortly. There is another group that covers with PSAs, but I have heard the same spot run back-to-back, or twice in the same break. 
  • Clash: This is what happens when the online automation and the on-air automation are not in sync. The on-air listeners hear a network newscast followed by a local update, a spot, and then traffic. The online listeners get the network newscast, a spot, the local update joined-in-progress, then the spot and traffic. 
  • Replacement: Some news-talk stations that have local newscasts and traffic reports replace them with spots in the online stream. Local listeners will notice the missing elements. Out-of-market listeners may be seeking to hear news from home or get an update on a breaking story directly from people in the market. 
  • Repetition: If a station has a dearth of online sponsors, that means fewer spots to schedule. If the advertiser has a rotation of one or two commercials, how often those ads repeat can quickly become obvious.
  • Traffic: Your traffic team likely plays close attention to when on-air commercial runs are supposed to start and stop. Do they give the same attention to online scheduling? I was hearing the same ad for a Mother’s Day event well into June. 
[Curran: Trade Deal Could Have Major Impact on Radio Industry]

As more listeners live their lives online, there are potentially millions of reasons to consider the online stream equally as important as the OTA signal. Program directors give a lot of thought to ways to increase TSL. Any of these six problems could be a tune-out factor for online listeners. That is something no station can afford. 

Kevin Curran holds a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College. His research interests include broadcast history and media management. He teaches at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School and College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, Grand Canyon University and Paradise Valley Community College.

Comment on this or any article. Write to radioworld@futurenet.com.

The post Ignore the Sound of Streaming at Your Own Peril appeared first on Radio World.

Auction of Cross-Service FM Translator Construction Permits Closes; Winning Bidders Announced for Auction 100

FCC Media Bureau News Items - Wed, 07/03/2019 - 23:00
Announces Close of Auction 100, Establishes Deadlines for Down Payments, Final Payments and Filing of Forms 349


FCC Media Bureau News Items - Wed, 07/03/2019 - 23:00


FCC Media Bureau News Items - Wed, 07/03/2019 - 23:00


FCC Media Bureau News Items - Wed, 07/03/2019 - 23:00

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FCC Media Bureau News Items - Wed, 07/03/2019 - 23:00

Walter Benjamin radio diary entry #2: “the downside of radio.”

Radio Survivor - Wed, 07/03/2019 - 22:02

It is not clear exactly when Walter Benjamin gave his second radio talk, titled “Street Trade and Markets in the Old and New Berlin.” The editor of a volume of his broadcasts that I consult, Lecia Rosenthal, thinks that it aired in late 1929 or early 1930 on Radio Berlin. But whenever it streamed, he served up a wonderful portrait of the Magdeburger Platz and Lindenstraße indoor market halls of the period.

” . . . above all, ” Benjamin noted, “there is the smell, a mix of fish, cheese, flowers, raw meat, and fruit all under one roof, which is completely different than the open air markets and creates a dim and woozy aroma that fits perfectly with the light seeping through the murky panes of lead framed glass.”

It is a wonderful passage. But in this diary entry, I just want to focus on one comment that Benjamin made. He was reflecting on how great it was to return to these halls, which he had not visited since his childhood. “And if I really want a special treat, I go for a walk in the Lindenstraße market in the afternoons between four and five,” he told his listeners. “Maybe someday I’ll meet one of you there. But we won’t recognize each other. That’s the downside of radio.”

Perhaps. Of course it was true that Benjamin’s listeners might not visually recognize him. But apparently it did not occur to the storyteller at that early point in his radio career that they might recognize him by his voice, such as when he spoke to a market stall merchant.

In my years writing about radio, many community radio station hosts have told me that they became truly hooked on broadcasting when, by accident, someone in their signal area recognized them as they spoke on the street or in a restaurant. Years ago I interviewed Don Foster, news/public affairs host at Pacifica stations WPFW-FM in Washington D.C. and KPFA-FM in Berkeley, California, for my second book on the Pacifica radio network. Foster described how he would sometimes hail D.C. taxis and the driver would identify him by his voice:

“One time I got in a cab in D.C. and I was going to do an interview with Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the president of Haiti, who I had met in Haiti once, and I got in the cab telling the guy I was going to the Haitian embassy, and the cab driver was a Haitian, and he says, “Are you Don Foster?”  And I said, “Yeah.”  And he says, “Oh, man, I listened to the report and the thing you did on Aristide!”  And then when I got to the Haitian embassy he wouldn’t take my money.  Wouldn’t take it [laughing].  I tried to throw it at him; so for me it was like the Academy Award, right?”

Oral History interview with Don Foster, 2002

As for me, it has been a while since I regularly spoke on any radio station. But at the University of California at Santa Cruz, where I teach, I now run an online class in which students participate in streaming video discussion sections. The other day I was working out at a gym near the campus, when I noticed several students practicing somersaults. I told them how impressed I was with their acrobatics.

“Are you Professor Matthew Lasar?” one of them exclaimed. “I’m one of your online class students!” She identified herself by name and I remembered her from one of our email exchanges. What I found most interesting was that she obviously recognized me not because of my appearance, but via the sound of my voice. I would like to think that maybe my voice is distinctive. But it is just as likely that rather than watch the pre-recorded videos for our class, she just listened.

I do hope that at some point in Walter Benjamin’s radio career, someone heard him ordering some cheese or beer from a market vendor and cried out: “Omigod! You are Walter Benjamin! The guy who does those great talks on Radio Berlin. I loved your talk on the Berlin Schnauze. You are so awesome! We love your show!” It is one of the most satisfying moments for any radio host.

This is an ongoing diary that reacts to and reflects on Walter Benjamin’s radio talks.

The post Walter Benjamin radio diary entry #2: “the downside of radio.” appeared first on Radio Survivor.

Inside the July 3 Issue of RW

Radio World - Wed, 07/03/2019 - 14:09

It’s new equipment season again! The annual “Summer of Products” feature is all about new gear that has come onto the market in recent months. Here and in the next several issues we feature equipment that caught our eye. Also, check out our Buyer’s Guide to consoles, mixers and routers in this issue.


Hybrid Radio Making Strides

The promise of “hybrid” radio technology has yet to be realized, but while 2019 may not be a breakout year, participants say significant milestones are being met. The term hybrid radio refers to platforms to provide a seamless combination of broadcast radio and internet technologies.

Strickland Taught the Industry About RF Safety

When it came to teaching engineers about RF safety, few could hold a candle — or an RF monitor — to Richard Strickland. During his long career, Strickland instructed thousands on topics related to RF radiation safety and compliance. He died in 2018 at age 73, following a long battle with cancer.



The post Inside the July 3 Issue of RW appeared first on Radio World.

Finding the Path at Medialaan

Radio World - Wed, 07/03/2019 - 10:51

NAZARETH, Belgium — I have been passionate about music, video and IT from an early age, and in the last three years working at TVV Sound Project, I have been fortunate enough to be able to use this passion in my work. What I love most about working in the broadcast industry is being part of a company that can deliver a total package to our clients. 

A customer comes to us with a dream, a vision about how their radio station should look and function and we have the ability to work everything out for them and bring it to life. This can range from designing their radio studio in a 3D model, designing custom HTML pages for controlling the studio, to designing logos and website with integration of the studio (metadata, visual radio, request, social media, etc.) The possibilities are almost unlimited with the resources we already have today. 

[Medialaan Renovates Qmusic and Joe Facilities]

Recently, we had the opportunity to work on such a project for Qmusic and Joe from the DPG media group. TVV has a longstanding relationship with Medialaan, and they had been using the Omnia.11 for audio processing for several years. They came to us looking to upgrade their facility by installing 11 new Omnia.9s, complete with all the trimmings of an AoIP environment. These Omnia.9s now handle all the audio processing of Joe FM and Qmusic (as well as all other channels on DAB+). We also installed five Telos Alliance Z/IPStream R/2s to handle all the station’s streams and a lot of xNodes to convert analog/digital I/O to AES67 or to be able to route and control other AES67 sources with Pathfinder. In addition, they also installed two Telos VX Engines as part of a brand new VX phone system.

All of these upgrades are monitored and controlled by two Axia Pathfinder Core PRO units. Pathfinder is being used in this facility for level detection for all FM and DAB+ channels through an HTML5 page with an overview of all channels with metering and status. If there are any errors or problems, there is a clear indication as well as instant notification through mailing. In addition they are also using an HTML5 page with maintenance buttons to adjust the Omnia.9 source (secondary source or internal player). 

We always choose Telos Alliance products because we know from experience that these are the highest performance products on the market. We have replacements for all our units that are in service, but we’ve noted in practice that these must be used very rarely. 

[Qmusic and Joe To Begin DAB+ Broadcasts]

During the project, it was noted that an aspect of the Omnia.9 did not fully meet customer requirements. If the internal player of the Omnia.9 was activated, it started to play from the last position in the song. We reported this to Telos Support and immediately received an answer as to what they needed to add/change to meet these customer requirements. After a few days there was already an update with the solution. Now you can have the choice to have the emergency player play a song from the beginning of a track, just like the customer requested. 

Broadcast is a sector that does not stand still. The evolution from analog to digital is inevitable and cloud-based systems are just around the corner. Innovative devices such as Pathfinder that can also be run as a server application are just one of the many examples of why I’m excited to see what tomorrow can bring, and what the future of broadcast will be. 

For information, contact Cam Eicher at the Telos Alliance in Ohio at 1-216-241-7225 or visit www.telosalliance.com.

The post Finding the Path at Medialaan appeared first on Radio World.